Bzzzzzzzzzzz! It's MySky HDi
Office opinion is split on Sky TV's new MySky HDi box, which lets you watch and record high definition (HD) broadcasts. Or at least over its noise pollution. Ted reckons the whir of its hard drive and cooling system is louder than a PC, and major nuisance value. Scott maintains it's only "a bit loud" (though he adds that he lives on a main road and no longer hears the traffic ...).
Olympics go AWOL
There's also a political problem with MySky HDi. Back in May Sky TV CEO John Fellet told me he wanted to have TVNZ and MediaWork's channels TV1, TV2, TV3 and C4 onboard for Sky HDi, the better to mute Freeview HD's appeal (and the freebie platform continues to charge ahead; as of July 11, 123,903 Freeview decoders had been sold, for an estimated reach of 300,000 people. The pace will pick up with the Olympics - especially with Sony and others now selling widescreens with Freeview decoders built-in).
But as of MySky HDi's July 11 launch, Fellet had only secured MediaWorks' free-to-air HD free-to-air channels. TVNZ refused to sign on. So any one who wants to receive the HD versions of TV1, TV2 or the Freeview-only TVNZ Sports Extra - due to launch with the Olympics - will have to subscribe to Freeview HD (it is possible to run both services through the same TV).
Tour de HD
Our reviews editor is totally sold on MySky HDi overall, incidentally. He's Sky Sport 1 and Sky Sport 2 now look so good, he's watching the Tour de
Drugs France ("Even though I hate cycling"), plus NASCAR, golf, and of course the All Blacks (Sky TV has spent tens of millions on new Sony gear to create an HD-capable outside broadcast unit).
We've panned Sky TV's digital broadcast a number of times. It often looks rubbish, with motion-blur whenever an All Black starts running with the ball (OK, that hasn't happened much lately) due to Sky's stingy compression, which allows it to stuff more channels into the same bandwidth. And Scott says the standard definition digital Sky Sport 3 now looks awful by comparison. But in their new high definition digital glory, Sky Sport 1 & 2 (and Sky Movies and Sky Movie Greats) have our reviews ed glued to his set. Scott says even sports events shot in standard definition but upscaled to 1080i HD for Sky Sport 1 & 2 are a great leap forward.